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Obligations related to a real-estate sale

A building’s seller (apartment, house, land) is obliged to inform his buyer as soon as the preliminary contract has been signed. It is important to get advice before putting a property up for sale.


What information should the seller pass on?

Generally speaking, the seller must send all the information he has about the building. In addition, some of this information is provided for by law. The courts strictly sanction any breach by the seller in terms of this general obligation .

If the latter hides important information, the buyer can obtain a reduction in the price or cancellation of the sale in the most serious cases. The seller is then summoned to reimburse the price and at times, pay compensation to the buyer who went through damage (moving costs, searching for another accommodation). Therefore, it is extremely important to respect these constraints. However, the list of information that the seller must provide to the buyer keeps extending continuously.


What legal and technical information must be provided by the seller?

Legally

The seller must, for example, inform the buyer if easements exist (passage, view, waterflow), mortgages or privileges (taken in favor of a bank to guarantee a credit) or other charges (preferential agreement or an advertising bulletin).

Technically

  • The seller of a co- ownership apartment, for example, is obliged to provide the exact area of the accommodation (Carrez law). The maintenance booklet, which is obligatory for co- ownership buildings, must be given to the future purchaser (unless he already owns at least one lot in the same co-ownership), just like the co-ownership regulations, the description of division or the amount of current outlays in the provisional budget and charges outside of the provisional budget, the amounts which are due to the syndicate of co-owners, etc. The seller must also provide the purchaser with a large number of diagnoses, so that the latter is mainly informed about the possible presence of termites, lead or even asbestos, radon gas, energy performance, conditions of installing electricity and gas, environmental data, natural hazards, technological seismic mining.
     
  • Seller of building land, on which the purchaser intends to build a building for residential purposes or for a combination of residential and professional use, must specify whether a demarcation has been carried out and inform about the town planning rules, which are applied to the land not to mention the possibilities of construction. In addition, when the building land is a subdivision lot, due to the division which is carried out, within a coordinated development zone by the public or private person, who is responsible for the development or comes from a Land consolidation, which is carried out by an urban land association, the mention of the description of land, which results from the demarcation is included in the agreement or the contract. The demarcation mentioned above does not really make up a demarcation within the meaning of article 646 of the Civil Code. Indeed, this isn’t about contradictory demarcation, except in the case of the outer perimeter limits of the lots. The environment of the building must also be taken into account: possible the existence of foreseeable natural risks in the region (flood, land movements), town planning easements, conformity of the individual sanitation installation of the house, operation of a polluting activity nearby.
     
  • Last but not least, selling land that has become constructible by individuals (individuals or companies falling under the personal capital gains tax regime) as part of their private assets may be subject to a flat-rate tax, known as « local » if the municipal council (or the appropriate legislative body) of the municipality where the land is located has taken a decision concerning this. In which case, the tax shall be paid by the seller. The tax will be equal to 10% of 2/3 of the sale price of the land and shall be paid by the notary, on behalf of the seller during the land registration of sales agreement. The seller may also be liable for a so-called "national" tax, if the sale makes up the first transfer for payment of bare land, which is made constructible due to its classification after January 13, 2010.
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